I read a prompt (because I’m lacking for ideas) and it asked if you had one week to live, what would you do? And it got me thinking about my life and what I would want to do if I had only one week left to live. And what I would do with only one week left to live is drastically different from what I’d do if I had a year left to live or as many years as I wanted left to live. And that makes me wonder if what I want to do is truly what I want to do or if it’s just what I think would make me happiest as I am making money so that I can live.
So, let’s start with the prompt. One week. That’s it. You are told in no uncertain terms that you have one week left to live. What would you?
I would travel. I would probably stay within the US and Canada (as there is so much that I haven’t seen and I can access all of it by driving – or having someone else drive as I probably would), but I would travel from one coast to the other. I would write a story as I traveled and I would stop often. I would visit obscure places that mean nothing. I would visit obscure places that do mean something. I would visit famous places that I’ve read so many things about. I would stay with a different friend every night. And we would go to a country concert every single night. With one week left, that is what I would do. I would travel and write and listen to the music I love. And I would take millions of pictures along the way. So many pictures. Some would be fantastic, some would be silly. Some would be horrible, some would mean nothing. All would mean everything in the end. With only one week, that would make me happy. And hopefully, I would write something fantastic.
So what does this mean for me? Should I abandon my dream of becoming a teacher and become a vagabond? Should I drop everything and just travel? No, I don’t think so.
Because if I had a full year to live, or even a full month, my priorities would change. I would travel on the weekend and I would be in a classroom the rest of the time. If I didn’t have my own classroom, I would find a classroom (or multiple classrooms) that I could volunteer in. And I would help and volunteer and love those kids to pieces.
True, if I only had a short amount of time left, I would try to incorporate more fun – I would go see a movie when I thought it looked interesting, I would not say no to friends or family, I would really write something that I thought mattered. But, there is no way to know.
So maybe the lesson I need to learn from this little exercise is that I deserve to let myself do the things that make me happy (traveling to visit places/people I want to see and love, going to concerts, writing) and not feel guilty about it. Yes, we need a balance, but that balance should also include the fun things.
Your turn! What would you do if you only had one week to live? Am I overthinking this? Do you think my calling lies somewhere besides teaching?